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A-hole or a Hypocrite? Marital Status Discrimination in the Voting Booth November 6, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying., Marital Status Discrimination.
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3011331342_e5a2676af5_zHello Haters,

Get your running shoes and start digging your toes into the dirt so you are ready to sprint to the comments section by the end of this post. Though you might want to spare your fingers. You don’t need to tell me how much of an a-hole I am; I already know that and feel bad enough about myself as it is.

Copious Readers,

What would you have done in the following situation? Did I make the right or wrong call?

As you know, we at Onely have been harping since forever about Marital Status Discrimination–which happens when laws and corporate policies favor married people over unmarried. We hate that. So imagine my dismay when I saw that on (U.S.) midterms voting day (Tuesday, November 04, 2014) I would be forced to vote on the Virginia legislature’s House Bill 46, introduced by Delegate David Ramadan (R-87) :

Virginia Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Armed Forces Amendment:

The measure was designed to exempt real property from taxation for any surviving spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces who was killed in action, as determined by the Department of Defense.

It’s always terrible when anyone is killed in action. But when I read about this proposed legislation, I had to think, “But what if the person KIA wasn’t married, but had a very important person (or persons) in their life who filled some or all of the emotional/physical/financial criteria that a spouse might?” All military personnel should be able to choose a person to be exempt from this taxation, should the servicewoman or man be KIA. Otherwise, our government is not only discriminating against unmarried people, but against unmarried people who risk their lives in service of our country.

I sat in the voting booth much longer than normal (meaning longer than thirty seconds) considering whether to fill in the Yes oval or the No oval. I considered voting Yes, because I didn’t want spouses of U.S. servicepeople to have to pay real property taxes if they didn’t have to, because of course it sucks very much that their husbands/wives were KIA, and they deserve whatever recompense the government can/will give them.

However, I also considered voting No, because I didn’t want to support a law that I felt discriminated against single people in our armed forces–first, because discriminating against single people who protect our freedoms is yucky, and second, because I felt I would be a hypocrite given all the writing I’ve done about Marital Status Discrimination.

Yes-No-Yes-No-Yes-No. . . Well, you know those chairs in elementary school gymnasiums are just not comfy for this kind of extended rumination, plus people have an annoying habit of “waiting in line” behind you for you to finish your vote. Eventually I had to decide: should I be an A-hole or Hypocrite?

I chose A-hole. I voted that spouses of people KIA should *not* get those tax exemptions. Yes, I felt like a jerk. But I figured two things: One, there was no way I was going to escape that butt-numbing elementary school chair without feeling like a jerk in one way or another. Two, chances were that most other people would vote Yes on the measure, because like me, they would feel like jerks for voting No. So I could be reasonably sure the legislation would pass even if I took a small stand against Marital Status Discrimination by voting NOPE.

And I was right. The measure passed by 87.1 percent, with 1,829,691 votes.

I’m still not sure about my decision. Had it been any other law favoring married people, there would have been no question on how to vote. But when you get the military involved (I have a number of relatives and friends in the Army and Navy) those boundaries start to become less clear. Thoughts? (Virginia residents welcome.)

–Christina

Photo credit: David Poe, Mockstar

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Comments»

1. Spinster - November 6, 2014

I think it should be for ALL military service-people.

2. Li - November 7, 2014

I completely agree with how you voted. I understand how you felt but think of it this way: you didn’t vote AGAINST spouses of military; you voted FOR the single troops who deserve the same peace of mind by arranging for the future of their loved ones. I wish the government, in all its forms and branches, would get out of marriage. Leave marriage to the spiritual groups and let the government treat every citizen equally.

3. Sue - November 9, 2014

I think it would have been better to vote for the law which probably ended up on the ballot because someone was opposed for less reasonable reasons, and then work to get the law amended to allow each member of the military to choose the person to receive this benefit in the dreadful situation of being killed in action. And I would still write and push to have the law extended in this manner, because it’s only fair to the troops to give them less concern for those they leave behind.

After all, you don’t need to be married to have children.


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